High Heels on the Rocks

water-3125113_1280Picture yourself walking along a rocky shore wearing high heels — almost impossible right?  When someone is involved in betrayal or hidden sin of some sort, this is a good way to describe the feelings of those close to them. If you are facing the known or very real possibility that your spouse, a child, or someone else you love, is struggling in an area of habitual sin, I am writing this in order for you to recognize and take active steps that will help you find the remedy for this very difficult situation.

The following thoughts may be familiar to you if you are in a relationship with someone whose heart is bound: “Why is it so difficult to have a conversation of substance? Why does (s)he seem so evasive, unwilling to answer any questions? Why does (s)he twist things and blame me? Why is (s)he so impatient and angry? What’s wrong with me, why am I feeling so frustrated and angry? Why won’t (s)he tell me where (s)he’s been? I feel like I’m going crazy! All (s)he wants to do is watch TV or sit on the computer or cell phone! I feel so alone and isolated. I feel like (s)he is overly controlling of me. I don’t know who I am anymore. What’s happened to us? I’m afraid, why do I feel this constant dread, “ and the list goes on.  If you have experienced similar thoughts, and even think you might be going crazy, take heart you are not alone.  There may be a good reason for your uncertainty, hyper self-examination, and confusion.

What I am writing about is common enough in the world around us; where addictive behavior has become normalized. But for those who profess a relationship with Jesus Christ, living this way is simply wrong. If you are attending church and experiencing this dynamic, intervention is needed. God’s purpose in saving us is for us to glorify Him and this will not happen in this environment. You will simply be going through the motions; showing up at church with your mask, yet dying inside — not to mention the effects this hypocrisy has upon your children.

high-heels-463770__480Let’s go back to the high heels. When someone checks out of life and into their secret fantasy world it creates a rocky road for those around them. Let me give you a few common markers that should help you discern if someone you care for is involved in habitual sin. Please remember, there’s no need to panic; this situation did not happen overnight. God has a redemptive plan in mind for you and your family, but you must act wisely if you wish to see good come out of destruction.

Here are three markers that indicate a major problem:

1)  Vagueness and ambiguity.  When you ask “normal” questions and are met with answers that really don’t answer, but deflect, turn it around on you, or skirt the question — beware.  Someone living with a secret has to cover and protect and this takes effort. The easiest way to cover one’s tracks and to keep ahead of those close by is to keep things vague or ambiguous. Antonyms for ambiguity are certainty, clarity, clearness. When these are lacking in conversation, and you have to pull teeth to get clear and concise answers to your questions, there is a problem.

2)  Blame Shifting.   Someone who lives with guilt and shame will, out of necessity, shift the blame somewhere else. This throws the inquiring person into a defensive position — and as in football, you can only advance toward your goal when you have the ball. When someone has a habit of shifting blame to you when asked a legitimate question, you have a power-play going on. The use of diversion is to remove the question from them and shift it toward you. To combat that, stay focused, and speak clearly, directly, and honestly to them about what you are feeling. Also, take a break for the moment so you can regroup. These are skillful patterns and you’ve likely learned to dance in submission to it. Sin and deception, by nature, work together to create an atmosphere of blaming (Gen. 3:12-13).  Manipulation and control accompany the blame in order to keep those involved off-balance.

3)  Impatience and Anger.  This response reveals internal conflict. When someone is living with hidden sin they feel frustrated with themselves, and very much like a failure.  When a soul is dealing with shame and guilt, the conflict will be pair-707505__480demonstrated. A knee-jerk reaction often occurs when someone gets close to the issue and impatience or ridicule is often used by the offender to control those around them.  If the invader’s threat continues, the reaction progresses to anger; then possibly rage and hatred because as sin progresses the bondage grows.

A few practical examples: “Honey, would you like me to pack a lunch for you?” or “Can I make you some breakfast before you head off to work?” Those are simple, kind, questions, right?  Well, if one day the answer is appropriate like, “Sure, thank you.”  — and another day it’s met with, “Why do you always have to bug me?” or “Why are you so controlling?” or “Can’t you leave me alone!” You have a problem. Depending on the dynamics of the situation and how long this has been going on, you will find yourself wondering, “Why this rotten behavior? What has happened to cause such disdain and this adversarial spirit?“ One day you get a normal response to a routine question, the next day its impatience, anger, and blame. Why? The change from one day to the next can be frightening and confusing.  Without understanding the sin, the cycle, the acting out, you may wonder, what’s wrong with me?  What did I do? You may become convinced that YOU are the problem — when in reality they are dealing with guilt and you become the scapegoat.

These patterns of unpredictability, vagueness, impatience, and anger, have their root. Use whatever scenario you will, and look for the pattern. While you may be repeatedly blamed for the response you receive, begin to recognize what you are dealing with.

Do not take a victim mentality and give up.  You may feel like you are fighting a phantom! It really can be that confusing at times. While this is primarily a “spiritual” battle, it also has physical consequences. Habitual behavior is aided by hormones that rivet the pleasure sensors in the brain; that’s why people have difficulty letting go of their sin. Defense mechanisms are habitual too; they are a part of someone’s life when they live with guilt and shame from their actions.

Note: some habitual sins (addictions) are easier to spot, and can be dealt with before they become deeply embedded in the soul and brain function of the individual. Because lying and manipulation are central to keeping sin hidden, these patterns accompany habituation making it more difficult to detect. While the “user” is deceived, those around them often fall for these manipulative tactics and end up going deeper into the pit of confusion and despair themselves. Sexual sin[1] in particular is most destructive and is growing within churches. Yet, few pastors will speak openly about this particular sin with their congregations, paving the way for help. While there are men’s groups formed to help, often the wives are left ignorant or confused. This failure tends to keep spouses feeling uncomfortable in attempting to get help.

What Can I do?

Climbing that rocky slope in high heels is not easy. I believe a primary reason some never reach out for help is because of the recurring confusion this scenario brings. Because you are already experiencing disrespect, betrayal, and guilt you lack the confidence it takes to move forward.

Many spouses or family members of addicts have experienced the pain of attempting to get help only to regret it. The resulting pent up anger and frustration someone in this situation experiences can make it appear initially (to an inexperienced helper) that you are the source of the problem. While we all have sin issues to deal with, the dynamics of betrayal and abuse feed our frustration. Get help anyway, prolonged abuse causes some to go inward, silent, and recluse. For others, the pressure cooker lid blows and it all comes spewing out. Either response is a common reaction to the inability to be allowed to express your feelings and to be respected as an individual.

girl-1245678__480Gaining clarity and trying to express yourself takes effort and seems overwhelming because you’ve lived in such a confusing world of turmoil. You’ve changed, you don’t like who you are, your sense of normal is gone and it becomes difficult to express yourself. To be sure, Satan is delighting in all of this confusion. The hidden sin not only affects the one choosing to sin but everyone around them. This is why it is so important to get help. Also, even though the initial sin may have ceased, the behavior associated with protecting that secret is now a deep issue in the heart.

The constant emotional instability eventually breaks down our identity in Christ.  Our mind can become clouded and it seems an overwhelming task to confront the real issue. Along with the biblical mandate of submission and respect for authority, there’s enough confusion to keep many quiet. You may even wonder if you have lost out with God and are abandoned. You’re not. You just need a life-saver tossed to you. You will make it if you hold on to the Life-Giver, Jesus, and make the changes needed.

Bringing sin into the light (I John 1:7) is vital. This offers the opportunity for repentance and confession (I John 1:9).  Perhaps this hasbridge-19513__480 already happened on occasion with this person; you must realize that there is a deep, deep stronghold that comes with habitual sin — especially sexual idolatry. Coming out requires much more than confession and repentance. Intensive restructuring with God’s Word and accountability is mandatory. Don’t agree to just let it ride and become the accountability partner; that will not work.

Freedom, found in Christ, comes from walking in the light and hating sin; we must hate sin as God does. Consistent, honest openness and accountability is required. It takes work. Changing the mind and its patterns concerning what is pleasing to God is vital.  Humility is a major factor in overcoming the past, and pride will fight against this all along the way.

boy-1916204__480Action Steps: If you feel sin is present, don’t allow fear and suspicion to rule your heart.  Instead, take steps toward having a conversation about what you are feeling with the one involved (Mt. 18:15-17). If this fails, find one or two to come along and assist you.

In order to prepare yourself:

1) Think biblically: get biblical counsel if you are unable to think this through yourself. Living in High Heels on the Rocks for years will have its effects. The truth presented in love (Eph. 4:15) will be needed to set everyone free, including you.

 2) Act, instead of reacting: God’s Word gives action steps that bring hope. Write out what scripture says about your situation. Differentiate truth from thoughts based on the pain you feel.

3) Pray, instead of panicking: In order to trust God through this process you need to pray and gain power over the enemy, who uses fear to derail us. Reacting will not produce righteous fruit.

4) Exercise faith in God: Trust involves believing God. Responding out of your flesh will increase the confusion, which Satan loves to operate in.  God offers clarity to those who will trust Him.

5) Ask for help — this is so important! Do not try to handle the situation alone. There are plenty of resources available to you; there are caring people who can help. Start with your pastor, church leadership may need to become involved to enact biblical discipline. Glorifying God, and freeing yourself and those you love are worth it.

Remember, Satan wants to destroy you, your spouse, and your children, but God wants to give you abundant life (John 10:10).  Bringing sin into the light is the first step to freedom.

[1] 1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

For further help, please go to the Resources Tab.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Are you Offended?

Offended 9Do you realize that Jesus spoke about offenses because He knew it would be a major obstacle for each one of us, and what we do with an offense will determine the strongholds we allow in our life? Someone experiencing turmoil in their soul will have a trail of crumbs leading to an offense.

Our Attitude, the posture of our heart, is so important when it comes to how we interact with others. Our thoughts, determine how we respond to what comes our way. On any given day we can become offended, it all depends on what’s happening in our soul.

Everyday Offenses
We all have the opportunity to react to people who rub us the wrong way or treat us disrespectfully. If we are not careful, we can develop an offended spirit; everything someone says offends us, we take it personally and allow it to turn over and over again in our minds. This is the playground of our enemy; Satan loves to bring suspicion, fear, and pride into our hearts. A freeing place to live is learning to recognize that you can control your thoughts, and what you will allow to control you. Jesus said, “offenses will come but woe unto those through whom they come.” (Matthew 18:7)

Contempt
Have you been dealt with contemptuously? Homes with addiction are breeding grounds for contempt. Lying is a given, abuse is common, scapegoats are necessary – they are created to handle the blame and feelings of shame. The large elephant consuming the space, time, and poor relational health is ignored with hopes that it will just leave; but it won’t.Offended 3

John and Julie Gottman have done extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability, they list contempt as one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in determining factors in marriage failure.

Contempt is not easily understood, and it comes forth in various ways. Disrespect, scoffing, sarcasm, an attitude of indifference or accusation, are traits of a contemptuous heart (Matthew 12:34).

 Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart gives a good understanding of what contempt is in Chapter 3. He points out: “… contempt serves a person entrapped there in four ways: It diminishes our shame, it deadens our longings, it makes us feel in control, and it distorts the real problem. Contempt is complex and often hard to see. It sometimes masquerades as conviction; other times is seems like righteous indignation.” 

Overcoming OffenseSOLUTIONS
STEP 1: Forgiveness – An important step in being successful in dealing with offense is to be able to forgive those who have offended you. It is a journey, and the power of God’s Word at work in your heart is crucial (Hebrews 4:12). His Word has the power to reveal what you need to see and it will retrain your brain to think rightly and help you to avoid remaining a victim of the circumstance.

Unless you can arrive in a steady place of forgiveness, letting go of the offense, and building good guardrails you will not be able to proceed to step 2 properly. “Forgiveness gives me boundaries because it unhooks me from the hurtful person, and then I can act responsibly and wisely. If I am not forgiving them, I am still in a destructive relationship with them…” – Dr. Henry Cloud

STEP 2: Truth in Love
People who treat others with contempt should be confronted about what they are doing. Share specifically what it is that you are seeing. In order for someone to work on themselves they need a clear picture of what you perceive the problem to be. This gives them the choice to take corrective action or not.

Offended 8When someone treats you with contempt it is your responsibility to set boundaries, and be prepared for the possible consequences. When someone has been accustomed to scapegoating or blaming another and you are no longer available for that, this new approach will likely anger them. Your willingness to confront an issue will be very difficult for them to receive.

If you plan to confront someone about their contempt toward you, it is wise to have a support group, Counselingaccessible pastor or counselor, and prayer team in place for emotional support before doing so. To go through the process of confrontation is very difficult and you can easily become overwhelmed and want to give up because of the anger, accusations and rejection you will suffer.

Along with the ensuing attack from those you confront, you will also face a tremendous battle from Hell. Satan does not want people freed from offense – that is his trap and deceptive way of holding them captive. This is why before confronting sin, you need to examine yourself so as to be free of these things yourself, walking in the Light (I John 1:7) and having your heart cleansed by Christ. Our attempt must be in a Christ-like manner even though we fall short of His precise actions, do not let that keep you from bringing clarity and potential healing into your situation. Be sure to pray also, as God may soften their heart and they could receive your words of truth in love and with grace change.

STEP 3: Reconciliation May Not Happen

fenceBy ridding offense from your heart, you place yourself in a position to relate in a healthy way. Family relationships are for a lifetime and worth the effort but it may take time to see change occur. These are the most difficult because of the history and pain involved, and some will choose not to let it go. Patience, caring and love with boundaries are necessary to endure with stability and strength in God, while each one works out their own heart issues (Philippians 2:12-13).

Is Someone offended at Christ in you?

In John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17, Jesus has intimate discourse with his beloved disciples (place yourself there as you read). Among other things, Jesus tells His disciples that He is sharing these things so that they will not be offended when someone hates them because of Him.

Jesus went on to tell them they would face persecution and have trouble in this world because they chose to follow Him. Not only did the religious leaders of the day treat believers in Christ with contempt, but the Roman authorities wanted to kill them; their lives were under constant threat. Family members also betrayed them because of fear, some because they did not want to obey Christ’s teaching. Some were simply offended with God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:10 that many shall be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another.

For you, it may be that your family rejects you because of your walk with Christ. Your obedience and love for God will be tested and it will determine your ability to stand for Christ and His testimony of life within you. When our family becomes an idol over God, then God cannot be Supreme (Luke 14:26). Your family may want to control your level of commitment to God and despise you for choosing Him over them. Fear is a big motivator when it comes to our family members. At times, your godly zeal exposes them to their own hearts of indifference toward God. The reasons are not as important as your response to their behavior. Often times people get caught in between an offended person and another party. Someone can react to a concern you express in genuine care, and you may find yourself being falsely accused. Don’t cower with the fear of man and their spin on your situation, stand firm and remember Jesus said this would happen. Receive encouragement by reading these chapters in John; read them over and over for a week or two and see how differently you end up thinking.

person-731467__340[1]When you are experiencing a contemptuous attitude, withdrawing for a season until there is time for reflection, and the Holy Spirit to work, can be helpful. When I think wrongly or say something inappropriate to someone, the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict me and I attempt to make it right with them. Be discerning here as well, because you can over-apologize and diminish the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have spoken truth in love, then stand upon that. Do not waiver due to fear and false guilt but be firmly committed to a godly solution. This is why God’s Word and good counsel is so important for each of us.

What you give your mind to does affect your brain and your actions, or reactions. Do you need faith? Read God’s Word and get yourself into a position of faith and obedience to God. Psalm 119:165 says Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing shall offend them. Let this be your goal as you commend your soul (mind, will and emotions) to God.

Recommended Reading:
A great book on handling offense is, The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere. The book is loaded with biblical principles to help mature us in this area.

Photo Credit: Google Images, Pixabay

Saying Good-bye

I know why they call them “man’s best friend”. They are unconditionally loving, overlooking your failures, always responding, eager to please, and somehow we learn to read each other’s faces. 

There was always plenty of noise in the house and she listened well, knowing when to get up and respond, or to stay put until called. When the children were young and full of energy, as she was, hearing the noise of her claws clicking on the kitchen linoleum was constant—she was engaged. Any time someone was coming or going, she was the sentinel monitoring the activity. But not so much these days, it was just her and I; she knew when to get up or not.

I remember trying put my shoes on and sneak off one day to head across the main road to see my neighbor without her. It didn’t work. Her keen ears could always tell the sound of the x-country ski boot, my tennis shoe, or even a flip flop! She knew my next move by the sound of preparation.

Part of our day throughout the years included taking a walk or bike ride in the woods that surrounded our home. The neighbors had developed their ATV trails and we used them for walking, running, biking and skiing in the winter. We all enjoyed this setting; it was a wonderful place to call home.

Should we mow today, girl, or wait until Thursday?” the place was quiet now, activities had slowed down and the listening ear had much less demand these days. It helped to converse with her, always a knowing look coming back at me. Her look responded to my tone, and now more than ever, my visage spoke to her.

I, along with many others I’ve talked to, have concluded that dogs are a wonderful gift from God; they are a tool in His Hand to demonstrate His love and care for us.

I remember how our youngest daughter, the one who begged for a puppy, would love to trick our canine into feeling like something big was happening, either a thief was present and she needed to respond in a protective mode or a visitor had arrived and we needed her welcoming skills. She was the classic Golden Retriever – effervescently wiggling, body swaying, scrunched up a bit, and swooning with love.

The process of letting her go was extraordinarily painful. I remember our final day together. On Monday evening, we drove down to one of her favorite places. Years earlier, our friends had turned a piece of land into a place of adventure, fun and most of all hospitality and love toward anyone who visited them. This was displayed through smells from wonderful cooking and the sights; it was a hobby farm perched on the ridge along Lake Champlain, and the sounds of a horse whinnying, chickens clucking or the faithful dog barking, as someone pulled up the long drive. It felt like home, even though we all usually left before bedtime. This would be her selection, if she could tell me where on earth she would like to spend her final 24 hours, this would be the place.

That Tuesday, August 1st, would be an emotionally consuming day by the time I pillowed my head that night. I tried to contain myself throughout the day, not wanting her to pick-up any more of my emotional scent than necessary. Thankfully, we were at a place that felt comfortable and held many good memories for us. When she was a pup we’d bring her down on our 4-H fun-days; she’d follow the horses as we’d ride, or cautiously go over and look at those curious birds pecking, pecking, pecking at the ground. And the people! So many people coming and going, stopping to visit; dropping something off, picking something up, and the holidays could not be beat. It was golden retriever grand-central and fit her enthusiastic personality nicely! Now, 13 years later, she was moving slower, her white face, surrounded by her reddish-golden coat, was tired. She had become the ole girl now, like the one she’d follow around as a pup learning the pathways and routines of the ridge.

As the afternoon sun grew warm and I looked at her lying in the thick green grass, it was bitter-sweet. So many memories tumbled through my heart. I needed to focus upon the good ones, if I did not, if I thought too much about all that had brought us to this day; I would not make it through. The relief of having sold the house 20 days earlier was good, but the strain of moving and now losing her was weighing upon me; so much loss, grief and pain, the temptation toward bitterness was great. The conversation earlier that morning loaded additional shame and blame upon me for doing what I thought was best for her. I was left to decide, the weight of the decision was heavy. And I was only halfway2017-07-21 002 through this day. Like a mother trying to present a peaceful front to an unknowing child, I got up from the porch rocker and went to her, “Come on girl, let’s take a walk”. She got up with a bit of a grunt and gave me that look indicating it was worth it; just being together was worth it.

As I drove her to my veterinarian’s place for an after-hours appointment, I cried. I called a friend while driving and crying, who had recently euthanized their dog. He encouraged me that it was the best thing to do. That helped some; I needed some encouragement in this dark hour.

I was to face one more major hurdle before I spoke her name to her one last time. My friend, the vet, had a young assistant who wanted to intervene, offering to take my girl, obviating the appointment. She meant well but I could not consent. I alone knew my already desperate attempts to place her with someone; her inability to thrive in a new family, not eating, nor engaging with life around her. I had spent the past 3 weeks trying to leave her with different people only to find that she was shutting down and would not stay without enduring major stress. I was so distraught and desperate, I considered it, but when I asked if she had other dogs and learned she had 4 already, this was my relief sign from God that it was not an option. So we continued on.

I let her out of the van to sniff around one last time. I could tell she was reading me well. She got out and looked at me, wondering… was I leaving her there?, what was happening? I called her back to the van, her place of comfort, her place of belonging, with me. She laid down. With me beside her, petting her, the injections were given, she was gone.

2014 025Postscript:
Our dear friends, Ed & Lisa and their children–also gifts from God to me, had provided and prepared a burial place; I drove there, nearby, sullen, sad, crying, broken-hearted. Yet I knew it was best. Our dear ole girl was resting safe, no more worries for her.

Fields of the Fatherless

Today is Father’s Day. A time to celebrate and think of the many blessings a father provides to his family, especially his children. But it is often a difficult day for those whose fathers have failed them.

BOUNDARIES

Remove not the boundary (landmark); and do not enter into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee. (Prov. 23:10-11)

God has placed boundaries everywhere for our peace and safety. He provides guidance so that we may choose to live fruitful and joyful lives. Harmony in relationship with Him as our Father and one another is His plan. Family is His design, and it’s beautiful.

TOUCH

I couldn’t help but think about those who are having a hard time “celebrating” their father today.  As my pastor was speaking about the value of people, he listed the ways we can value people, sharing a point about how important touch is. He illustrated the importance of babies receiving touch and how they thrive. He very specifically emphasized appropriate compared to inappropriate touch. The message was from Luke 13:10-17 how Jesus touched a woman with a spirit of infirmity and healed her. Jesus touched many women appropriately. Think about Mary washing his feet with her hair and the precious ointment she rubbed on his feet; he was receiving her genuine love and appreciation for Him; at a Pharisee’s house no less. Instead of pushing her away to save his reputation, He allowed her to touch him, appropriately, and He healed her soul. You can always reach out to Him!

Fathers who have physically abused, and/or touched their childrenperson-409127_1280 inappropriately, have placed a stumbling block in their way. Jesus talks about offenses in Luke chapter 17. He said they will come. But then in verse 2 He goes on to say that if someone offends (violates) a child, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea, rather than causing a child to stumble. Wow, that is severe! The violation of a child through sexual molestation is severe. It does not slide into the category of forgive and forget. It requires diligent effort on the part of the perpetrator to work toward godly sorrow that brings repentance.

FLEE!

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” He is warning us about something significant here. Additionally, we are warned that fornicators (sexual activity outside of marriage) shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Anyone engaging in sexual behavior beyond God’s permitted boundaries is playing with fire, in more ways than one. The sins we commit against ourselves through sexual immorality are devastating. We may not see it immediately, but the fallout will eventually come. We are warned numerous times to flee; get away from it. And incestuous sin often carries from one generation to the next [1], UNTIL someone decides to break the chain.

Sexual sin is the most devastating sin a family can suffer. It is manifest in many ways; and so many are suffering in our day. We are truly reaping the consequences of sexual freedom in our culture where little seems wrong anymore. I can remember back in the 80’s when a Christian radio commentator spoke about NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association), we were appalled and could hardly believe it. Today there is still some semblance of community standards concerning this, but sexual sin has so overtaken the idolatrous hearts of men and women that we find many within the church struggling to understand the confusion and overcome sexual immorality. Remember, Satan is set against mankind to do one thing, to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus told us this in John 10:10 and that is why He offers us abundant overcoming life. It’s this Zoë life that empowers us to walk victoriously; Holy Spirit empowered life! So we are left to choose.

CHANGE

Wherever you may find yourself today, choose His life! Whether you are living in eyes-730750__480guilt because you have been violated as a “little one” and that sent you down a dark road of sexual temptation, know that you can recover. The bad dreams can end. The proclivity toward sexual fulfillment, outside of God’s boundaries, can be turned around. Recognize that the patterns you are shamefully finding yourself in can change. There is always hope in Christ, the divine Savior! The all-powerful God of heaven and earth offers you the power to overcome anything by the indwelling divine Holy Spirit! God’s Word is sharp and powerful and able to discern the thoughts and intents of your heart. And He offers you His Word as a solution to your heart problems. If you will dwell there, think upon Truth and believe it, you can change the way you think, act and feel. It’s His remedy. Seek out biblical counsel so you can be made new and become the victor that God designed you to be.

woman-164547__480Remember, you may have been a victim, but you can choose today to walk toward a victorious life.  God will take all of your dark places and bring light. He will give you the ability to walk in the light (I John 1:7). There is no better place to be.

YOU HAVE A GOOD FATHER

I pray that you will recognize that you do have a Heavenly Father who is faithful and does not desire you harm in anyway. He is the One who takes ALL things and can turn them around for His purposes (Romans 8:28). God wants to be glorified in your life. There is no greater joy than to walk in a way that brings glory to Him. Will you take the steps to begin walking in this way? Focus on thanking Him for what you can now, it will grow and you will become a rejoicing Christian, glorifying God and turning what Satan meant to destroy you with into a weapon formed against Him instead.[2]

Sins against you may have propelled you into the fatherless fields, along with countless others. But remember, you have a home and you have a Good, Good Father, never forget that.

[1] The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.  Numbers 14:18 (ESV)

[2] Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.  15 If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

(Photo credit: Pixabay)

What is Biblical Counseling?

Biblical Counseling is using God’s Word (the Bible) as the foundational manual from which to answer every question and concern in a Christian’s life. It is discipleship and the process of growing in wisdom, understanding and application of the Word of God to our life. Whatever our situation is, God has provided an answer and remedy for us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (II Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

Our knowledge of God and man comes directly from His Word and when we allow the Holy Spirit to indwell us, He gives us the power to become partakers of God’s nature over our sinful nature. As Christ pleased the Father, we may also as we desire to glorify mind-2197437__480God through our lives. In order to do this, we need to change our thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word. He helps us with this. God’s Word is capable of restructuring our thought patterns as we choose to renew our minds daily, desire to have the mind of Christ and walk in obedience to His teachings.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:2 ESV)

Put off  your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:23 ESV).

This means our thinking will change and become pleasing to God in accordance with His desires for us. He always has our best interests in mind and as we submit ourselves to His instruction a beautiful transformation occurs. This is where a biblical counselor is helpful in this process providing assignments that will help someone think in a healthy God-ordained way. The result we want to achieve is to THINK – DO – FEEL, in that order.

The process of change in us is made possible by Christ’s sacrifice for sin, the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word at work in our hearts. The threefold process is: we discard old patterns of ungodly behavior, reconstruct our thinking based upon God’s Word, and adopt new patterns of godly behavior.[1]

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In summary, biblical counselors work with people to apply God’s Word as the solution to man’s fallen condition (Genesis 3). Our Creator knows us inside and out and offers us hope in any situation.

Credit: Much of the information I am sharing here comes from my studies in the book: [1] Curing the Heart by Howard Eyrich and William Hines 2002.

Resources: Insightful Testimony (11 min.) by Heath Lambert of childhood abuse he suffered and God’s redemptive work in his life; Heath is the Director of ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). Discussion on “Differences and Overlap of Biblical Counseling and Clinical Therapy” (80 min.) by Heath Lambert.

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